Issue # 47
May 7, 2001
Better Living Through Bunchism
By Rich Wilhelm

I originally wrote the following story in February 1986. I am reprinting it now for two reasons: (1) My grandmother asked me to--she says this is one of her favorites from my college years; and (2) I want to use this Brady Bunch-themed column to call attention to an amazing new CD called Delusions of Competence that has just been released by a wacky band called the Sponge Awareness Foundation. Our friend Kevin is one of the two main guys in this duo that occasionally expands into a full band. Kevin and his partner Ed have written some truly funny songs, including "An Axl Christmas," "Zamfir's Evil Twin," and "Greg Brady Wants Me Dead." You can check out the Sponge Awareness Foundation on their website, www.spongeawareness.com.

So, here's "Better Living Through Bunchism":

I'm going to be 21 years old soon, and it's about time for me to adopt a useful philosophy for my life. I think I have discovered a doctrine that explains the mysteries of the universe and my part in these mysteries. This doctrine is called Bunchism.

Bunchism is defined as the philosophical doctrine that all human beings have been formed in the likeness of one of the six children from the once-popular, often-repeated TV sitcom, The Brady Bunch. Bunchist philosophers maintain that it is necessary to know which character you are patterned after if you are to know yourself.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Brady Bunch, here is a capsule description of the show. It's basically the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely golden-haired girls. It's also the story of a man named Brady, who was busy with three boys of his own. One day, the lady met this fellow and everyone was positive (it was much more than a hunch...) that this group must somehow form a family.

That's the way they all became The Brady Bunch.

Although having a general knowledge of The Brady Bunch is an important aspect of Bunchism, it is far more important to have extensive knowledge of the individual characters. It can take years of research to truly understand Bunchism; however each character can be summed up in a few sentences.

Greg--Greg is just too hip, too cool, too bad, too any of those adjectives that were popular in the 1970s. Greg is continually in pursuit of surfboards, cool chicks and independence. Of course, these pursuits interfere with Greg's responsibilities as Big Brother to the rest of the bunch.

Marcia--Marcia faces a continuing struggle. Does she want to be a glamorous and sophisticated high school girl who is accepted by the elite of her class or does she just want to be one of the kids, laughing hysterically as her little brother detonates his science project (a volcano) all over the snobby Pep Club girls Marcia is trying to impress? Marcia is continually haunted by the words, "Oh, my nose!" and memories of a football smashing her face.

Peter--Peter "Pork chops and applesauce" Brady has some definite personality problems and spends much of his time trying on new personas. Pete was once a columnist for his high school newspaper but was corrupted after receiving candy bars for printing people's names in his column. I have learned from Peter Brady's lesson--I DO NOT ACCEPT CANDY BARS!

Jan--Like Peter, Jan has identity problems because she is a middle child. These problems are eventually solved by a crazy aunt who give Jan a totem pole, but Jan continues to be overshadowed by the fabulous Marcia and the cute-as-a-button Cindy.

Bobby--Bobby has tremendous athletic hopes, which are inevitably squelched by his small stature. People who assume the Bobby personality are often found wandering the streets chanting, "Mom always said don't play ball in the house."

Cindy--Cindy is terminally cute and precocious and is bound to become a hypochondriac because her mother puts her to bed with "the sniffles" every time she sneezes.

Some mention should be made of Alice, the Brady maid. Alice is often perceived to be a kindly matron, although a devoted Bunchist scholar has learned that this is far from the truth.

According to the scholar, Alice was actually a communist sympathizer who attempted to subvert the Brady family by baking subliminal messages into meatloaf supplied by her lover/co-conspirator, known only as "Sam the Butcher." Mr. Brady, a staunch conservative, ejected Alice from the Brady house after finding copies of the Communist Manifesto and the Subliminal Message Cookbook in Alice's room.

This is a brief introduction to the personalities Bunchist philosophers will encounter. By painting a realistic picture of modern American middle class life, The Brady Bunch allowed me to discover who I am. As other people discover the philosophical importance of The Brady Bunch, Bunchism will inevitably become a more popular philosophy than Gilliganism, Partridgism or even the greatest of all philosopical tenets, Beaversim.

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(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print a hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2001 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)

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